WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) -- President Donald Trump said he wants to send undocumented immigrants at the southern border to Democratic so-called "sanctuary cities" as the battle over immigration policy drags on.
Sanctuary cities have chosen not to cooperate with federal immigration officials by refusing to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants.
Trump said he wants to send immigrants to places like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in San Francisco unless Democrats agree to his immigration policies like the border wall.
"They're always saying we have open arms," said Trump. "Let's see if they have open arms."
Pelosi responded, saying Trump's announcement was "unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face."
Democrats said instead of making threats, the president should work with them to fix immigration laws in the U.S.
The Mayor of Oakland, California -- a sanctuary city -- said research has shown immigrants, both documented and undocumented, commit fewer crimes than non-immigrants.
"The idea that the administration thought in any way that it would be acceptable to use families and children, human beings, as political retribution against their enemies should infuriate every American," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
According to the Washington Post, the White House has been discussing the idea of sending undocumented migrants to sanctuary cities since November but immigration officials have refused to cooperate.